Dublin is a city bisected by the River Liffey. People tend to divide it into two key areas: the north side – traditionally home to a working class resident – and the south side, home to the middle and upper classes. That distinction is being quickly eroded, however, as a number of neighbourhoods in the north, such as Smithfield, Stoneybatter and Clontarf become gentrified. The core of the inner city is contained within two canals: the Royal to the north and the Grand to the south. Over 550,000 people live in these 115 square kilometres. Certain areas are still referred to by their old postal district numbers (like Dublin 8 and Dublin 4). The following areas are just a s
Dublin-born icon, James Joyce once said: “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart”. Although he left Ireland, he never stopped writing about the city and its colourful characters.
The people of Dublin
The biggest draw to Dublin has to be its people. They’re the reason why the city is consistently voted among the friendliest in Europe – and the world. They’re also the driving force behind Dublin’s distinctive nightlife, its vibrant arts scene and the city’s many community initiatives.
Dubliners are known for their well-meaning, but wicked, tongue-in-cheek humour. So expect some gentle teasing to accompany your invite to the local pub.
Dublin is relatively small with a population of around 1.4 million. Roughly 14% of these people hail from overseas, so you should settle in no matter where you’re from. (Read more about diversity in Dublin here.)
Art and history
The local people are just one of the many reasons to live in Dublin. The city also has a spectacularly rich history, teeming with grand architecture and internationally renowned museums.
Walking around the city centre, you’ll get to see picture-perfect Georgian townhouses, classical Edwardian facades and picturesque Victorian parks. The city is even home to a museum of a museum. Featuring exotic taxidermy and huge whale skeletons, Dublin’s ‘Dead Zoo’ of natural history hasn’t changed much since Victorian times.
In terms of art, Dublin has a diverse range of collections on display across the likes of the National Gallery, the Chester Beatty Library, the Hugh Lane Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. You can also view the National Museum’s 5,000 year old bog bodies, take your family on a Viking experience at Dublinia or check out Strongbow’s tomb at Christ Church Cathedral.
Music, drama and literature
Dublin has produced many world-famous musicians, including U2, Thin Lizzy and Sinéad O’Connor. It has also been called home by Nobel-winning writers like George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and W.B. Yeats. Today, their creative legacies remain painted across the city.
So how does this impact the people of Dublin? Well, firstly, you’ll see many monuments dedicated to these icons as you stroll the city streets.
Along the banks of the Grand Canal, you can sit down beside the bronze form of Patrick Kavanagh and watch the same scenes that inspired his poetry. While, just off Grafton Street, you can raise a glass to the legendary Phil Lynott just beside the bar where he began to gig.
Dublin is also a UNESCO City of Literature and hosts over half a dozen book festivals, as well as the internationally prestigious Dublin Literary Award. A new world-class city library is on its way too.
Much has been done to mark Dublin’s cultural heritage – this is part of what make the city so special. But new talent is emerging all the time too.
Recently, Ireland’s capital city has produced internationally popular acts like Kodaline, Gavin James and Pillow Queens. But the city also has plenty of pioneering hip-hop artists and gifted traditional musicians.
Dublin is home to music and comedy venues of every shape and size. From the cosy upstairs room in Whelan’s pub through to the 13,000-capacity 3Arena, there’s something to suit every artist and audience member.
There’s plenty of theatres dotted around the heart of the city too. The Abbey, The Gate and The Olympia have all been around for the best part of a century. While new theatres like the Smock Alley, the New Theatre, the Bord Gáis and the Pavilion have increased the city’s capacity to nurture creatives.
You won’t want to miss out on Dublin’s diverse range of festivals either.
In March, the annual St Patrick’s Festival fills the streets with a flurry of colour, kickstarting the festival season. After that, you can enjoy the entertainment on offer at Bloom, Dublin Pride, the theatre festival, Culture Night, the gay theatre festival, Trad Fest, Bloomsday, the fringe fest and Dublin’s international film festival.
With plenty of free and paid events happening throughout the year, you’ll never be stuck for choice. For more information on how to get the most out of Dublin, check out what’s on in the coming weeks and the cultural attractions that are open day in and day out.
Dublin’s Food Scene
With five Michelin-star restaurants, Dublin offers its fair share of fine dining experiences. But you don’t need to go to top-class eateries to get a delicious meal.
The capital’s pub grub is second to none and, despite the city’s reputation for rain, you’ll find markets and food trucks selling delicious delicacies throughout the county. The idyllic Iveagh Gardens even hosts an outdoor food and drink festival every summer.
In the last few years, Ireland’s coffee culture has grown in leaps and bounds too. So a quality caffeine-boost will always be within reach. Dubliners are big on tea as well. In fact, after Turkey, Irish people are the biggest tea drinkers in the world. Every visit to an Irish household begins with an offer of black tea with a drop of milk or sugar.
The diversity of food available in Dublin has grown massively in recent years too.
Two decades ago, ‘dumpling’ was simply a term of endearment among Dubliners. (Expect to be called love, pet, dote and chicken too.) But today there’s a huge selection of Chinese food stores and restaurants to choose from. On Parnell Street, just off the city’s main thoroughfare, you’ll find a cluster of Asian eateries and shops.
Just around the corner, on Moore Street, you’ll also find Brazilian coxinha, halal meat, Polish kielbasa, Vietnamese takeout, Indian samosas and African jollof rice. There’s some traditional Dublin street traders selling fish and fruit along this strip too.
Living in Dublin comes with so many benefits, it’s no surprise that so many people are choosing to call the city home. In fact, at least 17% of the population hails from abroad. So you should settle into this diverse city no matter where you’re from. Dublin is considered one of the friendliest in the world, so newcome
It’s impossible to be bored in Dublin – no matter how you like to spend your free time. Whether you’re a history nut, an art aficionado, a sports fiend or a night owl, this city has the museums, mountains, galleries, markets, nightlife and more to keep you entertained.